Zandvoort bracing for Dutch GP blockade threat

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The municipality of Zandvoort says it is in talks with local taxi drivers who are threatening to disrupt F1's Dutch Grand Prix weekend with a blockade protest due to restrictions imposed on their services.

According to Dutch website RacingNews365, approximately 150 taxi drivers may face restrictions in accessing the circuit, which is anticipated to welcome a daily crowd of over 100,000 fans.

A proper certification is required for taxi drivers to gain access to a designated zone outside the circuit, but only a specific quota of 'Taxi-Pass' authorizations has been assigned and distributed.

The limitations that have been decided have arisen following an issue encountered last year by the event's organizers, when taxis illegally entered the restricted zone and wreaked havoc on the latter's organization, according to Walter Sans, a Zandvoort municipality representative.

"In the past two editions they did not get access to Zandvoort, but last year taxis illegally obtained a pass-through ticket and entered the village on their own, where they offered services," said Sans.

"That has caused a lot of inconvenience - problems within our mobility plan. This means that we have announced: know that the rules have been in place for two years and that we are really going to maintain and act on them this year.

"The taxis that are allowed have received a pass-through ticket and are therefore recognizable."

But taxi drivers are pushing back on the restrictions and have threatened the municipality with a protest or even a blockade. Zandvoort is now consulting with local police authorities on how to deal with a potential disruption at next week's event.

"Now they say: we're going to block. What you get then is a situation just like with other demonstrations. You can do a protest in the Netherlands, you can demonstrate, so it goes like any other action," said a Zandvoort spokesperson.

"There is consultation with the people who handle public order and security, such as the police. Then we look at how such a demonstration can be managed.

"We have further explained why we have the rules [of the admission tickets etc]. Last year's evaluation report found that there has been too much nuisance due to illegal taxi pass-through certificates.

"So what we are doing now is entering into a conversation about the protests and demonstrations."

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